Date a Girl Who Reads

Date A Girl Who Reads
by Rosemarie Urquico

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

Deciding to “Ride METRO” in Houston

The shop sits right at the Ensemble/HCC Rail stop

I wrote the following post back in July of 2012:

After visiting METRO headquarters for a work meeting, something has been bothering me. Why have I never considered riding the bus? My husband and I are thrilled that the new rail will be heading down South Main close to our home, but why is the bus different? Why do I not have a public transportation card after I have visited so many cities around the world where that is the first thing I obtain? I have spent the last couple of weeks watching the inhabitants of the bus shelters try to alleviate the heat, stay occupied, and plan their next stop. I wonder where they are going and why they are taking the bus, what they do for a living, how often they ride.

I think it is interesting that METRO’s web site is They want to be accessible and increase ridership, but how do you lift such a heavy stigma? Why is there even a stigma in the first place, and why have I not seen right through it? I have been researching METRO’s General Mobility Program for work; METRO serves 5 1/2 million riders (as of January 2012), and I am pressed to dig up enough excuses to not increase METRO’s bus ridership by 1. The biggest concern for me is that it is slow and inconvenient (I would have to WALK to the nearest bus shelter and wait in the Houston heat). I am also going to be honest; I am concerned about safety. METRO has tried to answer that concern with their “Bus Safe” program where undercover police officers and TSA agents ride on buses around the city which was announced by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson in April. I am not sold, but I am wanting to try and see for myself what the atmosphere, convenience, and overall experience is like.

So I turned to to see exactly which routes I could take to work and how long it would take. My office is 9.4 miles from my house and it takes me around 12-15 minutes to drive there each day. After perusing the web site, METRO’s “Plan your Trip” site claimed there was not a stop .5 miles near my start location and I was having a hard time piecing a route together, so I turned to Google: 1 hour and 7 minutes according to Goggle Transit. Yikes.

Directions: Walk .4 miles to the nearest bus stop, which I pass every day in my car. That bus route is numbered 33 and it runs through Bellaire. According to Google, I will travel through 34 stops in 28 minutes until I have to change buses at Richmond Ave. and McCue Road. From there I wait for the #25 bus then travel west on Richmond Ave. through another 26 stops which should take around 16 minutes. Then I walk the .2 miles to my office.

For the return route, Google gave me two options, and I was pumped. I could go back on the same route, but decided to look at the slightly longer route for a different view. After writing it down, I realized I did not put in the time, and Google put in the current time (which was around 8pm). When I put in 3pm, the time I was planning on leaving work, the route changed, extending the trip by 2-4 minutes. For this time, I had 3 choices, one that was the same from before, but 2 new routes. I chose the shortest route (in estimated time) which should take around 1 hour and 10 minutes. Because the stop was scheduled at 3:29pm, that gave me a little more wiggle room when leaving work.

Directions: Walk to .2 miles back to the bus stop on Richmond (at Mandell). From there I will get on the 3:28pm #25 bus towards Sharpstown that travels west on Richmond Ave. 7 minutes, 7 stops. I will get off at Kirby, then get on bus #18 that heads south on Kirby towards Reliant Stadium at 3:45pm. I get off at Old Spanish Trail after riding for approximately 16 minutes and 22 stops. From there I walk to Main St. to get on the #10 bus heading towards Willowbend. After 17 minutes and 24 stops, I will end up at a bus stop .6 miles from my house.

It sounded like a solid plan, and I was ready to try it. And yet, as I was writing this, the Mister walked in and asked what time the class was that I am teaching in the evening that same day. I cringed. I had forgotten about this addition to my day, and worried that I could not make it in time (5:30pm). If I got dropped off at the last stop at 4:26pm, then have to walk home .6 miles, I may not have enough time to shower and clean up and then go right back out the door. Obviously I could ride the bus there, but then I would have to take the bus back after 10pm (safety concerns still lingering.) I also planned on getting up and running at 7am, giving me plenty of time to shower and be at work by 9. If I ride the bus, I would have to wait until after work, which could still not happen because I have to be at the college campus by 5:30pm.

SO, I will not be riding the bus tomorrow. I do feel like I have legitimate excuses–2.5 extra hours taken from my day presents a challenge.

Support a Craftsman not a Corporation

I have  been asked several times about how I find the artists that are featured in the shop. At first, I went after a few Houston artists whose work I had been admiring and shopping from for a while (Lisa Chow, Fuzzy Grapefruit, Olmox and Manready Mercantile to name a few).  I love shopping at local markets and discovering new artists (like Abbie Drue Designs), and once I knew the shop was going to become a reality, starting  sending out inquiries if artisans were interested in getting involved. I also took a trip to Austin with my dear friend Candice, and we found several artists there that I wanted to have in the store as well. (Son of a Sailor, Satchel & Sage, and Little Low Studios were some of our firsts.)  It starting growing organically from there, with recommendations from other artists, a few Etsy searches, to artists reaching out to us. I am happy and proud of the quality and variety of what we offer at The Tinderbox, and we are bringing new lines in all of the time (like Bexar Goods and Fox & Brie making their debuts soon!) so come check us out and support a craftsman not a corporation (thats a tip of the hat to ML Leather, also new to the shop)! Here is a small sample of the handcrafted products we have in the shop; you can check out a list of all of our makers here.

ML Leather
ML Leather
Abbie Drue Designs
Abbie Drue Designs
Summer Bucket Jewelry
Summer Bucket Jewelry
Jessica Grundy Art
Manready Mercantile









Authentic Bohemian

I love the Bing commercials. That is exactly what happens to me when I search for things online or elsewhere; one thing leads to another and I am reading a random article about garden gnomes being descendants of Priapus-the Greek God that is best known for his permanent erection. (Hmm….sounds like a good follow-up post.)

So here is my Bing moment for today. I have several RSS feeds that I read daily and I was looking at a blog about bohemian style. I have been quite intrigued by the whole ideology of “Bohemianism.” I have traveled to the Czech Republic and spent weeks absorbing the culture and trying to identify with the marginalized people that live this carefree life and seek nothing else but to create and recreate art. After several clicks I found myself “researching” the idea of a Bohemian lifestyle in America. I came across something spectacular; the impish American writer and Bohemian Club member Gelett Burgess, who coined the word “blurb” among other things, supplied this description of the amorphous place called Bohemia:

To take the world as one finds it, the bad with the good, making the best of the present moment—to laugh at Fortune alike whether she be generous or unkind—to spend freely when one has money, and to hope gaily when one has none—to fleet the time carelessly, living for love and art—this is the temper and spirit of the modern Bohemian in his outward and visible aspect. It is a light and graceful philosophy, but it is the Gospel of the Moment, this exoteric phase of the Bohemian religion; and if, in some noble natures, it rises to a bold simplicity and naturalness, it may also lend its butterfly precepts to some very pretty vices and lovable faults, for in Bohemia one may find almost every sin save that of Hypocrisy. …

His faults are more commonly those of self-indulgence, thoughtlessness, vanity and procrastination, and these usually go hand-in-hand with generosity, love and charity; for it is not enough to be one’s self in Bohemia, one must allow others to be themselves, as well. …

What, then, is it that makes this mystical empire of Bohemia unique, and what is the charm of its mental fairyland? It is this: there are no roads in all Bohemia! One must choose and find one’s own path, be one’s own self, live one’s own life.

Hiking in the Bohemian Paradise, Czech Republic

Sestina: “Something”

The sestina is a ancient, complex form of poetry that follows an exact pattern of repetition of the initial six end words of the first stanza. This was my first stab at it, and because of the patterning, the poem took a life of its own.  I highly recommend trying it!


Girl met boy.

They went to the zoo.

Boy always opened the door,

and girl thought,

this could be something,

but girl was unsure.


The word forever is an unsure

thing.  (Especially with just one boy.)

But, this could be something.

The start of their own personal zoo.

But girl possessed an unabating thought,

forever may close other doors.


“Forever” is sweet when whispered to the one you adore,

but what if there is another choice on another shore?

Trapping thoughts

But, girl loves boy.

Perfection–that day at the zoo.

This could be something.


This could really be something.

Years pass and boy still opens doors.

And they still go to the zoo

to commemorate that day they were so sure.

Boy asks for her hand, and girl thinks, oh boy.

Girl relents, hushing the afterthoughts.


Girl and boy forever, what a thought.

But this could be something.

Girl knows she loves boy.

And wants to go on adventures and open more doors.

Lingering thoughts of exotic shores.

Girl and boy add to their own zoo.


Girl can’t help but think of cages at the zoo;

doubt still forming a looming thought.

But one day girl looks at boy and is mostly sure,

that this could be something.

Boy opens more than doors.

Girl sees loyalty in boy.


This boy, the girl thought,

Since the zoo day, has been more than something,

and she stepped through the door, sure.